As I sat on my bed crying, 10 outfits strewn around me, I found myself wondering, ‘How did I get here?’
To top it off, I then called my slightly less fashion-conscious sister to seek some fashion help. I thought, ‘Hang on, have I entered a parallel universe here? Normally I’m giving her fashion advice, not calling her when I can’t find anything to wear.’
Eventually, I told myself “enough.” I needed to do something about this. I needed to help myself and help others who have gone through breast cancer find fashion easily, make it a joy instead of a struggle, and help them feel fabulous again.
I was a 35-year-old mother of two young children when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer. Just two weeks after my initial diagnosis, I had a mastectomy of my right breast. Six months later, I decided to have a preventative mastectomy of my left breast to rule out any possibility of breast cancer recurring and for my own personal comfort. I have chosen not to have a breast reconstruction – a choice I know is deeply personal for all women.
After that moment of fashion despair, I became passionate about helping people who have had breast cancer find clothes and a style that make them feel great about themselves. My passion for this comes from an empty place I found myself in post-surgery.
Not only was I still dealing with the very recent reality that I had cancer; it also dawned on me that life had changed in many other ways.
There was certainly part of me that was feeling a loss of femininity, but I also found myself completely and utterly lost when I needed to get dressed. With one breast or none, I really felt my options were limited. It was so frustrating for me, as someone who always cared about looking nice in clothes, that I couldn’t find anything to wear.
I started to search for resources to help, but I couldn’t find a thing. The only mastectomy fashion I could find took the form of websites that were either directed to more mature ladies, or which showed the prostheses always being worn and no other option.
I knew these would make me feel frumpy and unattractive. I wanted to be able to have options at all the mainstream shops – I just didn’t know how to do that yet.
Watch 10 Australian signers unite in the fight for Breast Cancer Awareness. (Post continues after video.)